Start the Presses: Accusations and flying mud

For about 15 hours this week, I’ve been sitting in Vrej Agajanian’s AABC TV studio, serially interviewing each of the candidates for Glendale’s City Council, School Board and City Clerk.

For those of you keeping score at home, there are 12 candidates for council, seven for school board and two for clerk. There is a fourth office on the ballot, City Treasurer, but Rafi Manoukian, a current councilman, is running unopposed. Still, that’s a total of 21 people for the three contested races. It’s been exhausting.

Of course, it’s much harder to be a candidate, and I very much applaud everyone that has subjected themselves to the trials of the campaign trail: the door-knocking, the seemingly endless forums and debates, and, perhaps, having to deal with me in an on-air interview.

You’ll be able to see the candidates next week on Charter channel 384. City council candidate interviews will air on Monday and Tuesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a rebroadcast scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Glendale Unified School District board candidates will have their turn on Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., and will repeat the following day from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The two candidates for City Clerk will have their interviews aired on Thursday from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and this will repeat Monday, March 18 from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Though everyone agreed to come, we had a few cancellations, all three of which were candidates for City Council. One was Zareh Sinanyan, who is in a heap of trouble over allegations that he made a series of hateful, racist and explicative-laden comments on various social networking sites and websites.

The allegations have prompted two members of the current council — Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian, whom are running for reelection — to discuss removing Sinanyan from his current post on a city commission. In addition, several high-profile endorsers — Rep. Adam Schiff and Los Angeles mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti — have pulled their support.

I wanted to ask him about this, but he has so far declined to talk publicly. Or so I thought. Agajanian told me that Sinanyan was in his studio Thursday evening, the same day he ditched out on his interview with me.

Sinanyan appeared on a talk show in Armenian called “Barev,” which means “Hello,” complaining the whole thing is a conspiracy to destroy his campaign.

It appears there are two options. Either Sinanyan made a number of extremely vulgar, hateful and racist comments online between two and five years ago, or someone created an elaborate hoax, associated his name with the comments, and then erased them to make it appear to be a cover-up.

On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether to yank Sinanyan’s membership on a city commission over the fracas. His campaign manager, Elen Asatryan, told our reporter that he would not address these issues until then. Perhaps she just meant the News-Press, as she made that statement on Thursday, the very day Sinanyan had his softball interview on “Barev.”

The other two no-shows were Edith Fuentes, who told Agajanian that she had double-booked herself, and Mike Mohill, who supposedly told my on-air host that he thought I’d be too hard on him.

I called Mohill to ask him what he meant, but he didn’t return the call.

Well, there is it. Welcome to the true beginning of Glendale’s political season, where the mud flies and the accusations abound.


DAN EVANS is the editor. He can be reached at (818) 627-3234 or


FOR THE RECORD: A previous version of this column incorrectly stated that Zareh Sinanyan is the chair of a city commission. In fact, he a member of the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee. The current chair is Gary Cornell.

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